Skip to main content

About Us: Center for Health Literacy

Learn about the Center's namesake, watch a video overview of the Center, and check out links to read more about us.

School of Public Health namesake Herschel S. Horowitz in black and white
Photo: Herschel S. Horowitz, DDS, MPH (1932-2003)

Our Namesake

The Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy is named to honor the legacy and accomplishments of Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz, scientist, educator, and public health advocate.  Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz believed that researchers must be active members of their communities. He felt they have a responsibility to communicate risks to health, promote methods of maintaining health, generate healthy policies for the community, educate communities and serve as expert witnesses where necessary.

An internationally recognized scientist and dental researcher, Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz was born in Detroit, Michigan and earned his DDS and MPH from the University of Michigan. He was a pioneer in clinical trials, fluoride research and prevention of oral diseases and conditions. While his primary research focus was on dental caries (tooth decay) prevention though the application of different kinds of fluoride and dental sealants he also paved the way for studies of cost-benefit and cost effectiveness and addressed key issues related to scientific research ethics. He wrote with passion and candor and had a high moral commitment to his field and the communities he served.  He was a major advocate for community water fluoridation and dedicated substantial time in the United States and abroad elucidating its health benefits to a variety of audiences.

Immediately after graduating from dental school Dr. Horowitz served in the US Army in Japan as a clinical dentist. Upon his return he provided dental care for the City of Detroit public programs before beginning his MPH program. Upon completion of his MPH he joined the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps where he began his career in dental research ultimately achieving the rank of Captain. He spent most of his career at the National Institute of Dental Research (now National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Health), National Institutes of Health where he led a team of clinical and behavioral science researchers. Dr. Horowitz authored and co-authored more than 200 scientific publications and book chapters; was a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Public Health and later served as its President; and earned numerous U.S. Public Health Service and professional association awards.

Center Overview

Video introduction about the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy.
Icon of a present box with a bow on top. White icon on red background.


Be a part of improving people's everyday lives.

Make a gift
Icon of a document with a small clock over it. A counterclockwise arrow encircles the document and clock. Black icon on yellow background.


Read about our founding and 10 year anniversary.

learn more
Icon of a calendar. White icon on red background.

Year in Review

Read about what we've done in the past few years.

2022 review live now!